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Full text of "What the Church expects of Elon"

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By Rev. Wm. T. Scott 

Aon Collage wag created by and for the Church. Therefore aivy py&gtfain 
of the College ehoulct be closely related to the great, purpose and ueec of the 
Church. The function of ihss Church is to win people to faith in Jesus Christ 
and to the acceptance of Hirr as their personal Saviour; to train people so that 
their lives will be enriched a-~-d dedicated to the service of Cud and man; ts 
extend the individual and corporate Christian life into society so that tne 
Christian spirit may be felt and practiced. The function of education fostared 
oy the Church should lead to the discovery and application of truth. "To tuiuk 
is ihe symbol of manhood; to thiv.-k clearly, creatively, is the mark of the 
superior nan.*' To think clearly, creatively, altruistically, ar,.d to dedicate 
chose thoughts to Christian ends, is the mark of the Christie- man. Here is tht 
purpose oi Christian higher education through El© * college. Here is the hope 
of the world! 

.-To j , as a Christian College, exists to help the Church fulfil a religious 
mission, which can he accomplished only when people are educated (trailed) in 
"la Mwlad ge, in skills, tft tables, in interests, in beliefs, - and who can be com- 
mitted to cake an active part in the Churca, and through the Church to serve so- 
ciety. This is a Christian mis si or. just as truly as any u.iasio-. action of the 
Cftflffclt afca be •»'" • tot it in China* ia Virginia, or in North Carolina. The Christ- 
ian College, therefore, is essentially an instrument of the- Christian movement. 
It must seek as its primary service to prepare young me > and young to 
become lay and professional leaders in this n oveme^i, both in the churches and 
in community life. The best test of the value of a college ia to wha. extent that 
institution aelps tb tit young man and young women tor lite practical duties of 
life. A Christian college diploma Is designed and should be a certificate of 
Cur is tie j character as well as scholarship, said the eminent Horace A&ann, first 
I resident of /-.atioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. 

Ihe Churches expect £le% therefore, to oe tue inspiration aad leader of 
progress i k religious Maat rg a id dedication. There must be such a close re- 
lationship with the Churches that there will cease to be Ha leak at the top' 5 , as 

Dea i Matthews put it a while ago. Often we ask the . ucstioa, ** why is it that 
young people who are leaders at hon e go away to college and waea they return 
they are not interested in the Church?" Cur brightest young men and you , 
women go to college ana it is expected that they will return eager for leadership 
in the Christie*, venture. X© our sorrow, larj;e -.umbers return to us uni -u: .. * 
Son ethinfj happens to their religion wniic at college! (these statements are not 
made in cau4a mnatiea af £lsa but as a general fact, and is will be see . later on 
that at our awn Celie e we have a chance and responsibility to correct a y pari 
of the truth as it might apply to ~ion. ) 

Freshmen enter college with a simple faith, u hen they graduate, « aay of 
then have lost thai iaith and no adequate pnilosopuy taxes its place, nc «.ey 
account for some of this, and the fault is not all withjthe colleges. The church 

The church back at home must take its share of the blame and try to correct it. 
The student leaving home for college finds a different atmosphere existing at the col- 
lege from that which he has experienced at home. Too many of our local churches 
have been afraid of truth and have kept their youth "in the dark" on great scientific, 
social and religious issues, and when liberation comes there is little foundation 
for courageous and clear thinking to match the scientific and fearless iavestigation 
of the college classroom. PerhapB over half of these young people have been 
active leaders in the church and larger coinmunity interests back at home. They 
participated in worship, Sunday School, Boy Scouts, etc. , During college they sit 
and listen and are ministered unto. "Four years of religious inactivity are hard 
to overcome, for the laws of atrophy are universal lav/s. " Then there are other 
factors, of course, such as competitive pressure of curricular and extra-curri- 
cular activities. Highly educated professors of science, literature, sociology, 
etc. , are anxious for students to take their courses and join some departmental 
club. Religious abilities are often unguided, leadership opportunities are few, 
and religion ceases to become particularly thrilling. The Church back at home 
does not keep in touch with these youth, and they simply act as any who are neg- 
lected or who neglect the religious side and loyalties of life. The result is that 
these same fine young people who went away from us are not "equipped in know- 
ledge, in skills, in habits, in desire to undertake leadership. M The average 
pastor knows all too well how difficult it is even to get high school and elementary 
public school teachers to teach a Sunday School Class! 

The Church has a right to expect that Elon working with the churches can and 
will correct these difficulties - as far as they exist - and somehow help the Church 
to receive these young people back dedicated to the responsibilities of Christian 
citizenship. These matters are within the reach of our correction at Elon, for 
Elon is ours and we can help determine its policies. That is a big reason why we 
ought to support Elon by sending our youth there and by making substantial finan- 
cial gifts to it. 

As to the program which the churches expect of Elon College, an article 
printed in Volume V, No. 7 of "The Journal of Christian Education" published some 
years ago by the Department of Christian Education of the General Christian Conven- 
tion expresses the opportunity and obligation of the Christian college to the churches 
far better than the writer could hope to do, and he quotes it: 

"Denominational colleges are fast realizing that they cannot justify their 
existence unless they do more than independent and tax supported institutions. If 
they are simply to duplicate the work of these institutions, they have no excuse 
for being . . . The next step for the colleges in religious education is threefold 
in its content: First, The Curricul um. The Church college cannot be satisfield 
with merely providing a religious atmosphere for instruction in what we call, for 
lack of a better term, the secular branches. These branches must be taught and 
the atmosphere in which they are taught must be religious, which is to say that 
Christian teachers must be employed as faculty members, but this does not meet 
the full obligation that rests upon the curriculum of the Church college. Its 


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curriculum must include specific instruction in Bible and religious education so 
that the Church may have trained leaders for its pulpits and for its pews. These 
leaders must know religion as experience and be able to interpret experience in 
spiritual terms. They must know religion as a working rule and they must know 
also that it is an enrichment of civilization past and present. Religion must be 
thought of in our Christian colleges as a quality of every course in the curriculum 
and not as a quantity of information to be transmitted, 

"The founding fathers of Elon College devoutly believed that. So long as 
there shall be need for a spiritual interpretation of the facts of history, of science 
and of life, just so long will there be need for Christian education, with its ability 
to transform the powers of a man and to refashion them, so that every act and 
thought and aspiration of those who are truly educated will reflect the beautiful 
principles which we have learned to call Christian. 

"Secondly, Laborato r y Facilities. The denominational colleges cannot 
content themselves in the future with courses In Bible and religious education as 
meeting fully their obligation for moral leaders for the Church and Kingdom. If 
it is necessary to have laboratory facilities in chemistry and other natural sciences, 
in domestic science and art, in psychology, and in the field of general education, it 
is likewise necessary to have similar facilities in the field of Christian education. 
So the day is dawning, when these colleges will call upon their constituencies to 
provide them ample faculty and facilities for labor to work in Christian Education, " 

Elon College has the distinction of being the first college in America to erect 
on its campus a laboratory of religious education in which students may be given 
definite training and experience as superintendents and teachers in Sunday Schools 
and workers in other Church auxiliaries. Because of financial difficulties this 
ideal began so nobly more than 20 years ago has had to be curtailed in recent years 
to the detriment of our churches of the Convention. We now have an excellent 
opportunity now of reviving and extending it by under -writing the Staley- Atkinso n- 
Ne wman Foundation for Christian Education for $100, 000. 00. With these facilities 
and funds Ellon College can and will contribute more largely to our churches both 
in professional and lay leaders. 

In the functioning of this department of Christian Education at Elon it does not 
seem too much to expect that the college would offer classroom courses in religion 
and seminar courses to advanced students. These seminar groups could, under the 
direction of the professor in charge, go on deputation learns to groups of churches 
for a week for the purpose of conducting leader ship training courses to the great 
help of ail concerned. The department should also offer special counsel and direction, 
giving college credit to accredited students who pursue this type of service, Vacation 
Bible Schools, etc. , during the summer vacation. Special guidance should be given 
to advanced ministerial college students v/ho might serve as student pastors or to young 
men and young women who serve as student assistants in churches. This department 



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should be closely related to tho department of music, sociology etc. , and oven 
the business department, a^d it should be an u;;dergirdiug influence for the 
entire student life* 

To continue the article lo "The Journal of Christian .education'' - The third 
item la the next step for the Christian college in religious education is found in the 
realm of Vocati onal Guida nce. Vocational guidance in the Church college cannot 
safely be separted from religious motivation. The work in the department o£ 
Bible and Religious Education must be integrated with the vocational guidance of 
students in colleges. Religion is acknowledged to be the integrating force, the 
unifying ir^luence for all the interests, purposes, and ideals of life. Consequently 
it will be disastrous for the Church colleges if they should leave the matter of 
vocational guidance of their student to outside agencies, or if they unfortunately 
separate their institutional efforts along this line from their work in Bible and 
Religious Education. " 

February 15, 1945 

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